When I opened BJ’s Kountry Kitchen, it wasn’t an instant success. Honestly, there were days I doubted that customers wanted an old-fashioned, home-style meal cooked by cooks – not commissaries – and served by likable waitresses – not conveyor belts. Dating back to the 1980’s, fast food and chain coffee shops had most of the multi-billion dollar food business.

BJ’s Kountry Kitchen had a more modest goal – to cook meals no more complex nor costly than what hard-working people eat at home and serve it in a fast-paced, responsive restaurant. I pictured the locally-owned corner coffee shop with its cramped kitchen and well-lit dining room, comfortable booths, and waitresses flying between them with hot coffee and solid meals. The chili was going to be our own, the french toast was made from white bread – like home – and the menu variety wasn’t determined solely by considerations of profit, but according to our customers’ likes and dislikes. And perhaps, most importantly, I limited the hours from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., which gave us a single-shift, two-meal business to run: and the less hours open, the more time to do it right.

That vision, perseverance, and hard work paid off and BJ’s Kountry Kitchen has become a favorite in California’s Central Valley. Soon we outgrew our first location and moved to a little larger but still homey restaurant on Ashlan Avenue. Growth has come slowly to the family of BJ’s Kountry Kitchen since I wanted each restaurant owner to be an operator and learn every aspect of the business, from dishwashing to hash-slinging to mop-wringing,

Even the dominance of mass-produced food hasn’t stopped the progress of BJ’s Kountry Kitchen. And now, responding to our growing customer base, we include on our menu additional choices for Senior Citizens and Children, a selection of lower-calorie and non-cholesterol dishes, and new combinations of some old favorites.

Never is never a good word to use in the restaurant business. But I never want BJ’s Kountry Kitchen to look, taste, and feel like a carbon copy eatery. Our food is cooked by cooks, served by servers, and eaten by people. And that’s an experience as individual as each of us and frankly unique in today’s busy restaurant market. Thank you for coming home with me to BJ’s Kountry Kitchen. Just holler if you need a re-fill!

BJ's Kountry Kitchen Judy Signature

Listen to our commercial from the 90’s!